Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I ask this because I think many Christians, including pastors, would say, "yes." But I can't really find anything in scripture that would put a church in that category. Yes, the IRS might do so, but if you rely on the IRS for your church identity you might want to look elsewhere. The church isn't a business but a body, the pastor is not an executive but a shepherd, you don't exist as a church to produce a product but you live to be a people. Our confusion on this is likely part of why most pastors and church members don't spend more than 5 years in a church.* Why not move on if it is just a non-profit business? There will always be another church/business that provides a better product or does things more efficiently. But that isn't the point, is it?
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Don't get me wrong, I believe the bible is jam-packed with purposes for the church. And I believe no church should be lazy in pursuing biblical purposes. But I don't find scriptural warrant for a church being purpose-driven as a core part of its nature or identity. Just examine some of the biblical metaphors for the church - body, bride, family, temple*. These items are not things that are preeminently purpose-driven but nature-driven. Their identity is in what they are more than what they do. And they all define a relational reality more than a functional goal or purpose. Maybe the chief purpose of your church is simply to be what it already is vs to try to accomplish something in particular. So, given this, do you think if we regard our church as existing to be purpose-driven, in the typical way, we might be missing something?
* see Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 10:17, 12:12, Eph 5:32, Rev 21:9, Mt 12:49-50, Eph 2:19, 1 Tim 5:1, 1 Cor 3:16-17, Eph 2:19-22, 1 Pet 2:5